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What's the best universal remote?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by dnemec123, Aug 14, 2007.

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  1. Edmund

    Edmund Remote Master

    Apr 17, 2003
    Southern Ca
    No other remote but another White RF directv remote will EVER control the HR20 set to RF.
  2. falken

    falken Legend

    Jun 14, 2007
    The 890 will do RF via IR blasters, there is no such thing as a universal RF remote though, so nothing will be able to control a RF device natively.
  3. sonicsi16

    sonicsi16 Cool Member

    Jul 17, 2007
    I have the Harmony 720. I believe you can only get it at Sams Club. It has the features of the 880 but in a rectangle shape instead of the peanut.

    EDIT: I meant to say Costco
  4. Steve

    Steve Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    So I high-tailed it to my local WalMart, and of course they were out of stock! :lol: Not surprised, at that price! /s
  5. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

    Jun 18, 2006
    You can also get it at Costco if it's the one I'm thinking of. It only has 6 soft buttons while the 880/885/890 have 8. If that matters to you. You can have (I think) 6 pages of soft buttons, so that means 36 soft buttons instead of 48.

    Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.
  6. Edmund

    Edmund Remote Master

    Apr 17, 2003
    Southern Ca
    PM me.
  7. jpoet

    jpoet AllStar

    Feb 9, 2007
    At $200 (ebay), my MX-850 was not cheap, but it is the best remote I have ever tried. Love those nice big, easy to press hard buttons.

  8. ziggy29

    ziggy29 Icon

    Nov 18, 2004
    San Antonio DMA
    Costco.com has the 720 for $179. I just saw the 880 at costco.com for $169, and that will include sales tax.

    Amazon doesn't have the rectangular 720, but they do have the somewhat peanut-shaped 880 for $128 with free shipping and no sales tax for most people. Compared to $179+tax (assuming Sam's pricing is similar to Costco's), that's $60+ for a different form factor. If you really hate the peanut shape, great, but to me that's a lot to pay for a different form factor...
  9. area

    area New Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    I am a MX-500 user and have been for years. Absolutely love it (except the backlight which always dies -- all 3 of my MX-500's have suffered from this). It seems to be a religous war between the Hamonites and HomeTheaterics buy neither one seems to be a bad choice. I have looked at the Harmony line but never taken the dive. The ability to clone my perfect setup onto a new MX-500 is a pretty big sticking point (genius feature to keep 'em coming back BTW.)
  10. JeffBowser

    JeffBowser blah blah blah

    Dec 21, 2006
    MX-500 here, too, I am a master of macros and relabeling, but, man, it would be nice to have a sleeker unit and one the visitors could understand easier, but without losing the learning, macro'ing, and relabeling functions.
  11. rmc_ss

    rmc_ss AllStar

    Oct 17, 2005
    It sort of depends on just how much flexability you need.

    For infinite options, the Pronto TSU 3500 and 7500 are top notch, but you need to be computer savy to set them up. They really are limitless.

    I recently picked up a Harmony 676 since they were VERY affordable. I have to admit it is very functional and intuitive and does everything. Very little tweaking after the initial set-up.

    The only down side I would say about the Harmony (the 676 specifically) is the buttons are a tad small. Not a real problem but I'd take a few models for a test drive if you can.

    Based on what I've seen and used, I'd buy another Harmony. Better bang for the buck than others out there and they are easy to get working. The Pronto, Nevo and others have more wow factor but the Harmony units seem to be pretty solid!

    BTW if you can find the European versions of the same Harmony remotes (most model munbers end in "5" like 675 vice 676) they have the 4 color buttons included!
  12. RichH25

    RichH25 AllStar

    Jun 16, 2007
    "Best" really depends on what your set up is. I have both a Harmony 880 and 890. I like them both. If you have a standard set-up (e.g. 1 TV, 1 AVR, 1 Sat, 1DVD, etc.) there are a range of Harmony remotes that will work very well for you. If you set up is more complicated (e.g. multiple TV and Sat receivers) you will need to go with URC (universal remote control) as the Harmony remotes won't be able to handle it.
  13. Gbsnplr

    Gbsnplr AllStar

    Nov 10, 2006
    I had a 880 but I couldn't get it charge. I switched to the Univeral Remote MX-950. Not the easist to program, but very powerful. If anyone knows how to program this remote can you help please?
  14. 4DThinker

    4DThinker Godfather

    Dec 17, 2006
    Gb... I'd go back for another 880. Much easier to set up so long as you have internet (you do). I've got two 880s and both charge fine.
  15. RichH25

    RichH25 AllStar

    Jun 16, 2007
    Charging issues have been reported on the 880. I occasionally run into it. If I do, I clean the contacts with rubbing alcohol and am good to go for another 6 months. No charging issues with my 890.

    I suggest you head over to the remote control forum on avsforum.com for help on the MX-950. There are many people on the site that use the MX-950 for complex set-ups and can give you a hand.
  16. JFHughes08088

    JFHughes08088 Godfather

    Mar 24, 2007
    Harmony 880
  17. Philthy

    Philthy Cool Member

    Jul 24, 2007
  18. Chuck W

    Chuck W Icon

    Mar 26, 2002
    This is the remote I am waiting for...

    I think it is still in beta testing, but should be out soon.

    Attached Files:

  19. Mike Bertelson

    Mike Bertelson 6EQUJ5 WOW! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Jan 24, 2007
    I have both the MX-700 and Harmony 550. They both work well for all my components but…

    This is only my experiences using the MX-700 and Harmony 550 and doesn’t necessarily apply to any other remotes. Keep in mind, I like tinkering/tweaking things so that the remote does exactly what I want.

    So FWIW this is what I found:

    The MX-700’s IR is more powerful but all my components are <20ft away so it really doesn't matter.
    It’s a little easier to reach the buttons on the Harmony 550 with a minimum of shifting in the hand (not that it’s difficult on the 700 but the 550 is just easier).
    IMHO, The 550 has a much better backlight.
    They both are PC programmable.

    The 700 is a little more bulky and heavier the 550.
    The PC interface for the 700 is less intuitive. It starts and you have to setup everything from scratch. The 550 has a “wizard” that walks you through the basics.

    The 550 lacks the ability to do macros.
    You’re left with “Activities” and lots of paging through the LCD screens to get what you want.
    However, the Harmony series is supposed to get the ability to do macros of up to 5 steps each (w/in the next month...maybe). The 700 allows up 190 steps for each macro.

    On the 700, each page on the LCD has 10 commands while the 550 only has 4, which means more paging to get to commands. You can put the most used ones on the first couple of pages. On the 700 I have the HR20 functions plus additional functions/macros on the first 2 pages. With the 550 I would need 5 pages to do the same thing(assuming the 550 could do macros).

    The 700 doesn’t have a record or skip/jump trick play buttons so they’re all on the first page of the LCD screen (I actually moved the menu & exit keys to the screen and use those for the trick plays). The 550 has buttons for these functions (i.e. 3 additional hard buttons).

    If I wasn’t doing macros, and didn’t mind < ½ the functions on a given LCD screen, then the 550 would be the easiest way to go. If something doesn’t go right it has a help function to aid in fixing the problem. I found this to be quite handy and had to use it more than once.

    The wizard asks for the model numbers of the components in your system. Then it asks what you want to do, like “watch DVR”. It asks what input the TV needs to be on, if you’re using a separate audio component like a home theater system. Then it sets up an activity called “Watch DVR” with all the settings you told it to use.
    Boom, you’re done.

    However, it didn’t work the first time. :rolleyes:

    The help function automatically asked if everything worked. I said no and it fixed the problem without going back to the computer.
    With the 700 it either worked or it didn’t. If it didn’t, you are on your own to figure out why.

    The MX-700 is much more flexible. The editor has a higher learning curve but also makes the 700 highly configurable.

    I do change things often. I’m always trying to tweak things. Now that I’m used to the program it is always very quick. It usually takes longer to upload to the remote then it does to make changes.

    The coolest thing about the 700 is the macros.
    For instance, I press one button to get to the to-do list, to the prioritizer, or anything else that requires multiple steps.
    It even allows me set a delay between commands in case the steps in the macro stomp all over each other. I only had to use this once but it is handy.

    I couldn’t do any of things I use macros for on the 550.

    Due to its power and flexibility and price, the MX-700 is the remote for me. Even though the Harmony 550 is less awkward to handle (for my wife & daughter more so than for me) we all prefer to use of the MX-700.

    When macros come to the Harmony series, I’ll try it out again.

  20. JeffBowser

    JeffBowser blah blah blah

    Dec 21, 2006
    Great review, Mike. No macros is a fatal flaw to me - one crucial macro is getting the 23 step CC function down to one.
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